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Album Review

Jim Manley: Funk Factory

Read "Funk Factory" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

When the great Renaissance sculptor and artist Michelangelo assumed the commission to create his giant, David, he knew he was working with a piece of marble that not only had significant taroli, i.e., imperfections, but also that had been abandoned by two prior artisans. While trumpeter Jim Manley's Funk Factory might not wind up in the likes of the Louvre, this latest artistic effort from the ace trumpeter, composer--and production--master is certainly worthy of the highest artistic acclaim. It's as ...


Album Review

Jim Manley: Chilled Brass

Read "Chilled Brass" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

Some years back as part of an iconic advertising campaign, Absolut Vodka (via its ad agency, TBWA) developed a series of magazine and poster ads that also included one dear to musicians, especially trumpeters. A gorgeous black-background shot of a gleaming silver trumpet with Absolut “bottles" as its valves. It was titled “Absolut Jazz." Chilled Brass from trumpeter Jim Manley is as smooth as silk and, while it might not provide you a liquid “lift," it provides plenty of enjoyable ...


Album Review

Jim Manley: Short Stories & Tall Tales

Read "Short Stories & Tall Tales" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

Back in the 60s, there was a classic James Bond film starring Sean Connery entitled Goldfinger (United Artists, 1964). The key antagonist in the action-packed film was a character named “Auric Goldfinger." He had less than the Midas touch. Conversely, St. Louis-based trumpeter Jim Manley does indeed have that touch as he shines on Short Stories & Tall Tales. With these stories and tales, Manley sends up a series of high-energy selections which run the gamut from ...


Album Review

Jim Manley: Brass Poison Too

Read "Brass Poison Too" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

Trumpet players who dwell in the altissimo range of the instrument face multiple dilemmas: they must maneuver the purely physical demands of playing in that extreme register (challenging), perform impeccably (difficult) and display musical grace and ease in doing so (incredibly difficult). Complicating matters, there are always the ghosts of Maynard Ferguson, Bill Chase and others lurking to offer the opportunity for fair or unfair comparisons. With Brass Poison Too, Jim Manley again demonstrates that he is ...


Album Review

Jim Manley: Brass Poison

Read "Brass Poison" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

Mythology and its partners--history and literature--are replete with accounts of poisonings of all kinds; romantic, political, and those unfortunately accidental. Most of these tales culminate with unhappy, tragic endings. Someone usually “gets it" in the end. With Brass Poison, star trumpeter Jim Manley shrewdly plays title tongue-in-cheek, and delivers a supremely enjoyable and seductively cooking rocktail. Following up on his fine Eight (Victoria, 2008), Manley and his St. Louis- based crew grab hold of a handful of ...


Album Review

Jim Manley: Eight

Read "Eight" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

St. Louis has generously given the music world some of its all-time great jazz musicians (OK, and great ballplayers too!)--from Miles Davis, and Clark “Mumbles" Terry to two Olivers (Nelson and Lake), and many others. It could be said that the city gave these stars lovingly. With Eight, the jazz world gets yet another gift from St. Louis (in addition to baseball's Stan), who can also be respectfully and accurately designated as “the man." And, here Jim Manley demonstrates why ...


Album Review

Jim Manley: Splendor in the Brass 2

Read "Splendor in the Brass 2" reviewed by Jack Bowers

It's not often that a sequel matches the prototype on which it was based, and even less likely that a followup may actually surpass that forerunner. But here we have one of those rare cases, wherein trumpeter Jim Manley's Splendor in the Brass 2 easily outdistances its namesake and role model (which was pretty good, by the way) as it gives the listener almost a full hour of invigorating big band jazz--and more.

There are several reasons for the improvement. ...


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